Sponsored by the Christian Women’s Society of St. Mary’s Visitation Parish in Elm Grove, the kitchen walk is a new type of fundraiser for the organization.

“I had attended a similar event in Oak Park, Ill., with two of my neighbors. We were looking for ideas for our own kitchens at the time,” said Jean Kelly, one of the coordinators. “We went to the Oak Park event a couple of times and felt we could do it here.”

To select kitchens to be part of the tour, “we just asked people in the neighborhood that had remodeled if they would be interested in participating,” Kelly said.

Not all of the participants are members of St. Mary’s Visitation Parish, she said, but they all wanted to help the school.

Notre Dame Middle School, 1420 W. Scott St., Milwaukee, is sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Currently, 132 girls are enrolled in grades five through eight.

In past years, St. Mary’s Christian Women’s group sponsored a luncheon and donated the proceeds to the middle school.

“We thought we’d try something new,” Kelly said, “so we started planning the kitchen walk about a year ago.” In addition to Kelly, Paula Ertz, Lynne Miller, Liz Pesci, Mary Reimer and Helen Shiely coordinated the event.

If you want to go
Kitchens for a Cause
Kitchen Walk
Saturday, May 14
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Advance tickets:
On day of event,
purchase tickets
in the Elm Grove Lutheran
parking lot, 945 Terrace Drive,
Elm Grove.

After selecting the nine kitchens located within walking distance of each other on Elm Grove’s west side, advertising for the Kitchens for a Cause booklet was solicited from contractors who worked on the remodeling projects.

Another consideration during the planning stage was parking. The nine homes are within walking distance of Elm Grove Lutheran Church, 945 Terrace Drive, “and we are grateful that the church will allow us to use their parking lot,” Kelly said.

Remodeling ideas abound

The homes on the kitchen walk are a variety of styles and ages, including residences built during the 1920s and ‘30s.
The recently renovated kitchens display a variety of flooring, lighting, cabinetry, countertops, backsplashes, appliances and color schemes.

Kelly’s home was built in 1978 and the kitchen was updated in stages, beginning about eight years ago.
“We wanted more space for entertaining family and friends,” she said. “We have all the family events here.”

The kitchen remodel enlarged the room by removing a back wall and adding a spacious, window-filled eating area.

The custom, off-white cabinets with a brown glaze, a large island topped with granite that is black with copper flecks, and the glass-tile backsplash with copper and brown tones were chosen to give the space a warm look, Kelly said.

The stainless steel appliances include side-by-side separate Sub-Zero freezer and refrigerator, and a drawer dishwasher.

During the event, Kelly’s kitchen will be the site of cooking demonstrations presented by mothers of Notre Dame Middle School students, and food samples will be served.p.5-kitchen1Helen Shiely’s Elm Grove kitchen is one of nine that will be on display on Saturday, May 14 as part of the “Kitchens for a Cause,’ fundraiser. (Catholic Herald photo by Allen Fredrickson)

Kitchen important to middle school

Notre Dame Middle School is located in the former St. Wenceslaus School. The 1930s-era facility has been remodeled and expanded since the middle school opened 15 years ago, but one area that has not been completely updated is the kitchen.

A walk-in cooler purchased last year enabled the school to begin preparing meals on site. Before that, a meal service was used, “but preparing the food here means it’s fresher and we can offer the girls healthier choices,” said Jenna Kashou, director of development for Notre Dame Middle School.

With meals and snacks being prepared at the school, a new stove and range is the next upgrade needed in the kitchen, Kashou said.

“Our kitchen and cafeteria do get a lot of use,” she noted. “The girls have the opportunity to arrive at 6:30 a.m. for a free breakfast. We provide lunch, and at 3:30 p.m., the girls have an after-school snack. Then our after-school program runs from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.”
The mandatory after-school program includes time for study, sports and other enrichment activities.
The school reports that 98 percent of their students graduate high school and 70 percent continue on to college. Kashou also referred to the 2010 WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam) state test scores as evidence of the school’s success. The scores were well above the Milwaukee Public Schools’ averages, and above the state average for reading, language arts and science.

Advance tickets available

To purchase tickets in advance, send an email to kitchensforacause@gmail.com, or bring a check, payable to St. Mary’s Christian Women, to the St. Mary’s Visitation Parish office, 1260 Church St., Elm Grove, before Saturday.
Prepaid tickets will be available for pickup the day of the event at the tent in the Elm Grove Lutheran Church parking lot; day-of tickets also will be sold in the tent.

A booklet describing the kitchens and their locations will be distributed when the tickets are picked up.
“You can start with any home on the kitchen walk and proceed in any order,” Kelly said.
Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite kitchen. The ballot also serves as the ticket for a chance to win door prizes.